Arsenal’s defensive weaknesses were ruthlessly exposed against Liverpool in their opening game.

With the transfer window close to slamming shut, the club is now desperate to sign a top quality centre-back and have approached La Liga giants Atletico Madrid for one of their promising young prospects.

The Reds smashed four past a hapless Gunners defence at the Emirates Stadium, and if the need for a new central defender was pressing earlier, it is a full blown emergency now. Per Mertesacker has been ruled out for five months, while his back-up Gabriel Paulista is also out with injury for at least six to eight weeks. That leaves only the inexperienced duo of Calum Chambers and Rob Holding to partner Frenchman Laurent Koscielny in the heart of the defence.

Arsenal were heavily linked with a move for Valencia centre-back Shkodran Mustafi, but the deal seems to have hit a roadblock as the two clubs have not agreed on a transfer fee for the German international. It is being reported that Los Che want £25 million for Mustafi, but Arsenal are willing to pay only £20 million.

However, with deadline day fast approaching, the Gunners have now turned to another La Liga player. According to the Daily Mail, the North London club have opened negotiations with last year’s Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid over their 21-year-old centeral defender Jose Gimenez.

Gimenez could help tackle Arsenal's defensive crisis (Photo Credits: EPA/Alejandro Garcia)

Gimenez could help tackle Arsenal’s defensive crisis (Photo Credits: EPA/Alejandro Garcia)

The 21-year-old Uruguayan is reportedly keen on a move to London, but Atletico want at least £40 million to part ways with him. The La Liga giants can call the shots as Gimenez is tied down to a contract till 2018, which also has a reported release clause of £56 million.

The young centre-back made 38 appearances in all competitions for Los Rojiblancos last season, and has the pace and strength to develop into a long term successor for his compatriot and Atletico’s defensive pillar Diego Godin.

Arsenal are unlikely to prise away the highly rated youth, and it could be a last ditch attempt by Arsene Wenger to get an alternative to Mustafi. It is unlikely that the club would be willing to pay £40 million when they refused to part with just £25 million for the Valencia defender. It remains to be seen whether these talks amount to anything, or whether they end up landing their priority target Mustafi after all.

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